Sat, Sep 15, 2018 - Page 14 News List

North Korea’s ‘Mass Games’ return after five-year absence
北韓「團體操」 睽違五年再度登台

Participants perform in a ‘Mass Games’ artistic and gymnastic display at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

The biggest show on earth made an astonishing comeback on Sunday as North Korea put on its all-singing, all-dancing propaganda display, the “Mass Games,” for the first time in five years.

Months in the preparation, the show featured tens of thousands of performers under the curved arches of the May Day Stadium, enacting scenes from Korean history and modern life against an ever-changing and unique backdrop.

It was made up of 17,490 children turning the colored pages of books in sequence to create giant images rippling across one side of the stadium — an analogue version, on a giant scale, of a usually digital solution.

Many scenes had well over 1,000 people on stage, and Guinness World Records lists a 2007 performance of the previous version of the Mass Games, known as Arirang, as the world’s largest gymnastic display, with 100,090 participants.

In keeping with the nuclear-armed North’s efforts to minimize militaristic elements of the celebrations — it did not put ICBMs on show at a military parade earlier on Sunday — the themes focused on development and prosperity, and even a Korean War section made no overt reference to the US.

The commitment required from participants is enormous. Former performers say they trained from 9am to 6pm every day for several months ahead of the performances, bringing their school or university studies to a halt.









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